Visiting in NYC

After Ithaca we began a month of visiting family and friends, starting with a 6 day stay with my sister in northern New Jersey. I intend to summarize many of these visits in a future post but I am going to dedicate a full post to our 3 day visit with Tom’s son who lives in Queens, NY (which is a borough of New York City for those of you not familiar); we visited him directly after my sister.

We had an awesome time: Nick was an excellent tour guide, taking us numerous places to see the sights, eat delicious food, and relax with a beer or two. Because he was thoughtful enough to plan most of the activities to accommodate Abby we ended up doing a lot of walking which was a great way to see his neighborhood and beyond too. It also helped work off some of the aforementioned food and beer.

I should start by saying that his neighborhood of Astoria has AMAZING vegan food options. I had the best pizza and Indian food I’ve ever eaten in my life, and a stellar falafel sandwich while we were there. On Saturday he took us to Smorgasboard, the largest open-air food market in the U.S. where they had the most ridiculous variety of food I believe I’ve seen in one place. One example I saw on a chalkboard was for a vegan bacon chili cheeseburger! I cannot imagine what that was even about.

Directly following our trip to Smorgasboard we walked a few blocks and began our brewery tour. Oh yes, a brewery tour. Beginning at Brooklyn Brewery we ended up sampling the goods at 6 different breweries that day; the other 5 were in walking distance from the apartment which meant that after we caught a ride back from Brooklyn and picked up Abby we started at the ones in Queens. Nick had previously determined that each of the 5 would allow dogs which was obviously awesome. I’m not going to go into detail about all the incredible beer we sampled but there were a lot of really good tasters. Both Nick and I documented this journey pretty thoroughly (minus our first stop at Brooklyn Brewery where I took a poor photo) so beware: lots of pictures of happy people at breweries below.

Sunday we were up early and walking to the ferry which travels down the East River. The boat ride itself was incredibly scenic and Nick pointed out many of the same buildings we’d seen a couple nights ago when we’d gone for a walk in Hunter’s Point Park. Near Wall Street we changed ferries and motored over to Governor’s Island, a surprisingly-large island lying off the southern tip of Manhattan which hosts historical buildings (including old army forts and a coast guard base) and a few artist cottages. Recent efforts at redevelopment have created a really nice open space for family activities and recreation, and provided us a nice place to walk around to explore for a few hours. The views of Manhattan from the island are also pretty impressive. After we made our way back to Manhattan Nick had one more stop planned for us at Fraunces Tavern, an 18th century building in the midst of Wall Street that served as a headquarters for George Washington. They also served us beer. The interior was well-preserved with many original elements but alas, it was so dark that my few pictures were rendered worthless.

Bottom line, Nick treated us to some of the most delicious food and drink not to mention planning some really great activities for all of us, which made our stay even more enjoyable than it otherwise would have been. We really did have a great time. Also, I’m still thinking of that pizza.

Note: some of these photos were taken by Nick.

Views from Astoria Park

Manhattan views from Brooklyn

Boat lifts at Hunter’s Point Park

Manhattan views from Brooklyn

THE Best Pizza EVER at Milkflower, Astoria

Nick and Tom at LIC Brewing

Tom and I at Big aLICe Brewing

Fifth Hammer Brewing

Samples at Fifth Hammer Brewing

Nick and Tom at Rockaway Brewing

En route to Transmitter Brewing

Tom and I at Transmitter Brewing

Ferry down the East River

Governor’s Island

Governor’s Island

Playground on Governor’s Island

View of southern tip of Manhattan from Governor’s Island

Historical Fraunces Tavern (est. 1719) in downtown Manhattan